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Sat, Dec. 14

Farm company says it's working on dust control

KINGMAN - Stockton Hill Farms is following through on recommendations from the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality to control fugitive dust in the Valle Vista subdivision, a top executive for the company said Thursday.

"We are running four water trucks to keep the dust down," Libby Lamm, chief financial officer of Stockton Hill Farms, told the Daily Miner. "We still need to install drip irrigation on our property and expect to get started with that in the next week or two."

ADEQ received more than three dozen complaints about dust in the Valle Vista and Red Lake areas during a 2½-week period in March, investigator Mike Smith said.

Stockton Hill Farms has been cooperating with state agricultural inspectors and invited them to the property to help develop a dust remediation plan, Lamm said.

"It appears that most of the dust is coming from north of our property, since all of our land in Valle Vista is done," she said. "We've been working on it the last two weeks. Once we have our drip system installed, there should be very little dust coming from our property."

Something needs to be done about the "constant haze" over the land and potential health problems posed by the dust, Valle Vista resident Connie Ortega said.

"All us homeowners in Valle Vista are held up in our homes because of all (Stockton Hill Farms) dust," she said. "We cannot even see the mountains some days because of the constant dust. We thought our allergies were bad before, but now we cannot go out to do our yard work or even enjoy a sunset."

Smith of ADEQ said he relies on dust complaints from the public to let him know what's going on. Stockton Hill Farms agreed to voluntary compliance with recommendations to have systems in place to minimize time between tillage and irrigation, he said.

"Unfortunately, he got ahead of irrigation installation work and until he gets the field stabilized, there's going to be fugitive dust," Smith added. "They have stopped all their equipment until they get it watered."

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